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Jean Elisabeth Pedersen

“What is a nation?” Ernest Renan’s famous rhetorical question to an audience at the Sorbonne on 11 March 1882 has remained vital for a wide variety of scholars in fields as diverse as history, literary criticism, sociology, philosophy, and political science. Renan initially posed the question barely ten years after the close of the Franco-Prussian War, which had sparked the establishment of the French Third Republic, the unification of Germany under the leadership of Wilhelm I, and the transfer of the disputed territory of Alsace-Lorraine from French to German control in the months between July 1870 and May 1871. Renan made no overt mention of these events while he was speaking, but he rejected any possible answer to his question that might attempt to base the creation of nations and national identities on shared “race, language, [economic] interests, religious affinity, geography, [or] military necessities.” This explicit refusal constituted an implicit rejection of the entire range of German justifications for the acquisition of the two recently French border provinces.

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Surviving Slavery

Sexuality and Female Agency in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Morocco

Chouki El Hamel

The tragic hero of North African slavery is female. In Morocco in the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, female slaves, mainly black women originally from West Africa, survived and sometimes thrived by forging emotional bonds with their masters. The striving for survival and the tragic drama of the female slaves' lives entailed emotional and sexual bonds via concubinage. For free Moroccan men concubinage was legalized and was secured by means of the connection to sexual desire. Concubines, that is, enslaved women, used, initially at least, this desire to secure a better position in a servile status within a society where gender was hierarchical: patrilineal and patriarchal. If it was legally and socially established for a male to be entitled to female slave sexuality, it was, as well, legally and socially conventional for the progeny of female slaves to inherit the father's legal status. I use the analysis of the concubinage system as a process to investigate the interplay of agency, emotions, sexuality, identity, race, and gender in Morocco.

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Hide and Seek

Uncovering the Politics of Playtime

Sarah Fishman

Since the publication in 1960 of Philippe Ariès’s foundational, if problematic, Centuries of Childhood, the history of childhood has developed into a rich and varied field. At the annual conference of the Western Society for French History in 2018, a call for panelists for a roundtable on the history of childhood expanded into two separate panels ranging from the medieval era through the thirty glorious postwar years. The panelists and the audience grappled with questions about the social construction of age, the ages of childhood, and the challenges of finding sources for a group that left few “ego documents.” Although children per se never exercised political or global power, attention to children clarifies how critical children were to political and international systems. Material generated by children themselves can be difficult to locate, but adults generated plenty of material about children. The intersectionality of the history of childhood with fields like labor history, urban history, the history of the welfare state, and the history of psychology parallels the intersectionality of children themselves, who come from every race, social class, and gender. All humans, it turns out, start out as children.

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Tao Zhang

Despite some scholarly attention, the Native-American–Chinese association is mainly studied from the White perspective. One may get the impression that connections between the two similarly marginalized groups are either imagined or promoted by Whites for their own benefit. But, as a matter of fact, American Indians, joined by their White friends, did initiate associations with the Chinese out of their own racial considerations. One case in point is Pan-Indians’ reference to the Chinese in the process of forging a united and unique identity for the Indian race at the turn of the twentieth century. With those allusions, Native Americans were constructed into a group that was exceptional and progressive, benevolent and cosmopolitan—in short, a group that Whites should accept and respect as fellow Americans. Passively involved in proving Indians’ eligibility for American nationality, the Chinese emerged as racialized but less repugnant than they had been in Whites’ racist depictions. Pan-Indians’ citation of the Chinese thus registers the caution with which they navigated the constraints imposed by American racism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Eloise Grey

such large numbers that stereotypes abound. 9 At the same time, the “new imperial history” spoke to postcolonial and poststructuralist perspectives such as race, culture, and gender and attempted to cut across national stories and in particular the

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Cècile Mathieu

Translator : Matthew Roy

peuple “people” (13), peuplade “tribe, people” (3), tribu “tribe” (3), race (2), dynastie “dynasty” (3), and population (1), effacing the individuals in favor of the groups they constitute. Far from being meaningless, this division along the

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Romanticizing Difference

Identities in Transformation after World War I

Nadia Malinovich

, these representations could be invoked for many different political or ideological ends. In the introduction to Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation and Citizenship in the French Colonies , Emmanuelle Saada notes her surprise in discovering a reference to

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Damon Boria, Thomas Meagher, Adrian van den Hoven, and Matthew C. Eshleman

well-trod territory and ultimately offers an unpersuasive criticism of Being and Nothingness . Specialists on Merleau-Ponty will find the first chapter of interest, Heidegger specialists the third, and philosophers of race with an interest in

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Ophelia Is Not Dead at 47

An Interview with Nabyl Lahlou

Khalid Amine and Nabyl Lahlou

Translator : Katherine Hennessey

race off the platform that I was playing on, good amateur actor that I was, to escape a thrashing. When I think that George Bush only had a single pair thrown at him, after he assaulted and violated an entire country and its people… Amine: With

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“Space without People”

Austro-German Filmmaker, Bestselling Author, and Journalist Colin Ross Discovers Australia

Siegfried Mattl

Australians in the book are highly ambivalent. Surprisingly, Ross rejects any notion of a singular native “race” and refers instead to the cultural and linguistic diversity of Australian indigenous peoples. Writing on indigenous personalities he met on his